Spiritual Walkabout

Ezekiel 37
Vision of the Dry Bones.

[a] 1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he led me out in the spirit of the Lord and set me in the center of the broad valley. It was filled with bones. 2 He made me walk among them in every direction. So many lay on the surface of the valley! How dry they were!

5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 7 I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. 8 As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life.[b] 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet….





As I walkabout the valley
of my soul today, 
I gather scattered skeletons 
I’ve discarded in shame.

Remnants of missteps dangle from dry bones. 
Brushing them bare, breathing 
forgiveness and compassion into them,
I rise yet another day.

Redemption 

c. Rita H Kowats 6-20-2021


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Living In The Interstices


Living In The Interstices


Gap
Crevice
Space

All words we could have chosen,
But this was Berkeley, after all.
How much better to lift one’s eyes to the universe
(While onlookers rolled theirs)
And espouse a Spirituality of Interstices.

How often I have lived in the space 
between this home and that home
Like a trapeze artist clinging to this bar 
while watching the next one swing

Closer
and
Closer.

Major shifts of reality foreshadow 
New growth incubating in the interstices-
That space in between departure and arrival,
Between letting go and letting be,
Space fertile yet fearful
Teeming with possibility.

On the final leg of my journey
I again wait in the space between 
Living here and living there,
Living and not living…
A multiversal journey toward 
New spiritual consciousness.


RHK 6/10/21














Shadow Souls

Flare up like flame
And make big shadows I can move in.

Rainer Maria Rilke 


I, 59 

God speaks to each of us as he makes us, 
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear: 

You, sent out beyond your recall, 
go to the limits of your longing. 

Embody me. 

Flare up like flame 
and make big shadows I can move in. 

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. 
Just keep going. No feeling is final. 
Don’t let yourself lose me. 

Nearby is the country they call life. 
You will know it by its seriousness. 

Give me your hand.


Rainer Maria Rilke
In Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
Trans. Anita Barrows

Patience

30 

Not making war 

A Taoist wouldn’t advise a ruler 
to use force of arms for conquest; 
that tactic backfires. 

Where the army marched 
grow thorns and thistles. 
After the war 
come the bad harvests. 
Good leaders prosper, that’s all, 
not presuming on victory. 
They prosper without boasting, 
or domineering, or arrogance, 
prosper because they can’t help it, 
prosper without violence. 

Things flourish then perish. 
Not the Way. 
What’s not the Way 
soon ends.

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way
Le Guin, Ursula K.; Tzu, Lao

31 

Against war 

Even the best weapon 
is an unhappy tool, 
hateful to living things. 
So the follower of the Way 
stays away from it. 

Weapons are unhappy tools, 
not chosen by thoughtful people, 
to be used only when there is no choice, 
and with a calm, still mind, 
without enjoyment. 
To enjoy using weapons 
is to enjoy killing people, 
and to enjoy killing people 
is to lose your share in the common good. 

It is right that the murder of many people 
be mourned and lamented. 
It is right that a victor in war 
be received with funeral ceremonies.

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way
Le Guin, Ursula K.; Tzu, Lao

Every day lately, I feel myself teetering on a precipice of despair, barely catching myself from falling over. Every day I heave many sighs of relief that somewhere someone has remembered the common good.  That somewhere someone has chosen nonviolence, and it has made all the difference. Then I begin the next day teetering and sighing.

Patience is a difficult spiritual practice for me. I desire the magnanimity to allow myself and others to grow at the pace we are able to grow but instead, I often despair over our human limitations. The practice of patience is a way to get through this time of social rancor.

Breathing in,   I am patient.
Breathing out, I release despair.

Breathing in,   I am patient.
Breathing out, I release shame.

Breathing in,   I am patient.
Breathing out, I release blame.

Breathing in,   I am patient.
Breathing out, I release impatience.
Breathing in,   I am patient.

May it be so.

Seething In The Soul





What to do in the Darkness
by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre

Go slowly
Consent to it
But don’t wallow in it
Know it as a place of germination
And growth
Remember the light
Take an outstretched hand if you find one
Exercise unused senses
Find the path by walking it
Practice trust
Watch for dawn

Soul Sloth

Soul lethargy is not Letting go.

It is soul sloth.

Soul lethargy is not 
Letting go.
It is soul sloth.

Like Sherlock asleep
on his exercise wheel,
I emerge from this pandemic
afraid to get back on the wheel,
curled up instead around my COVID fat
feeling sorry for myself.
Feeling pseudo-safe in a cocoon
of my own making.

A cocoon leading not to new life
but to one doomed to die by soul sloth.

Up! 

My soul opens like a morning glory 
starved for sunlight, waiting
for grace to pull me up.
Divine Spirit ever folding and unfolding, 
Show me the way out.

In the asking, soul sloth becomes
Letting-go.

c. Rita H Kowats 5-30-21

* Apologies to my feline sleuth for so cavalierly exposing his soul and fat belly for all to see.

Empty And Full

The Uses of Not

Thirty spokes meet
In the hub.
Where the wheel isn’t 
Is where it’s useful.


Hollowed out,
clay makes a pot. 
Where the pot’s not 
is where it’s useful.






Cut doors and windows 
to make a room.
 Where the room isn’t, 
there’s room for you.
So the profit in what is 
is in the use of what isn’t.

Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching: A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

trans. Ursula K. LeGuin

Our Half-Lived Lives: O’Donohue Meets Meister Eckhart


…An authentic life is a life that is aware of and willing to engage its own oppositions…. Sometimes, people who are very vociferous and moralistic are people who have erased the tug of opposition from their lives….It is lonely sometimes to hear them talk because,in their certainty, you can hear the hollow echo of a life only half-lived….One of the greatest duties of postmodern culture…is to try to bring the personal and the communal, the individual and the universal, together.

John O’Donohue in a talk delivered for “The Open Mind” 

published in Walking in Wonder by John Quinn and John O’Donohue



The eye with which god sees me
is the same eye with which I see god.
God’s eye and my eye are one.
One seeing, one knowing, one loving.

Meister Eckhart


There is a space
of potential presence
in god’s eye where we
can reside in peace
with the other, even if
we cannot be with them
in any other place,
in any other way.
If we can believe that
we are one in God’s eye,
we break the wall of dualism
that separates us, even
if just for a moment.
Moments live into
more moments.
Rest in the sacred gaze
of the divine.